Sierra Leone prepares for historic vote

Oct. 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A U.N. peace-building commission announced plans to visit Sierra Leone this month as the country prepares for November elections.

The U.N. peace-building commission called on national leaders and members of the international community to ensure root causes of conflict are addressed and emerging threats are monitored ahead of the vote.

Sierra Leone has presidential, parliamentary and local elections Nov. 17. Major political parties in May signed a declaration committing to free and peaceful elections. So far, the agreement has been honored but rivalries could escalate as the election draws near, the U.N. Security Council was told last month.

Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Joseph Dauda told the peace-building commission the government was "firmly committed" to a sweeping election that was free, transparent and fair.

An estimated 50,000 people were killed in the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced by a U.N. special court in May to prison for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity committed by rebel forces in the country during civil war in the 1990s.

The peace-building commission said it was sending a delegation to the country Oct. 31 to examine the situation ahead of the vote.

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